State enters Phase 3 of gradual reopening of economy

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma moved to Phase 3 of the Open Up and Recover Safely plan Monday, June 1. Gov. Kevin Stitt announced the transition last Friday.

As of May 29, Oklahoma had just 708 active COVID-19 cases out of nearly 4 million residents, and 5,236 people had already recovered from the illness.

Active cases in Oklahoma and Tulsa counties, the state’s two largest, made up less than 0.03% of the population in their respective counties.

As of May 28, 188,665 tests had been performed with just 3.77% coming back positive. Since Phase 2 of the OURS plan was initiated May 15, 69,914 tests had been performed and just 2.1% had been positive, as of May 29.

“We are making responsible decisions based on the data in our state,” Gov. Stitt said. “While cases continue to decline 36 days into our reopening, it is important Oklahomans remember COVID-19 is still in the United States and we must continue to be diligent about washing our hands frequently, maintaining physical distance and protecting our most vulnerable populations.”

Under Phase 3, businesses may resume unrestricted staffing at their worksites by observing proper CDC-recommended social distancing protocols and are recommended to continue increased cleaning and disinfecting practices.

Individuals should minimize time spent in crowded environments and continue following CDC guidelines regarding social distancing.

Additionally, summer camps are allowed to open provided they follow safety guidelines. Businesses that had been operating by appointment only may begin accepting walk-in clients at their discretion.

In conjunction with the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the statewide medical community, limited visitation to hospitals may be reinstated at the discretion of the facility.

As the data shows COVID-19 has a significantly more profound impact on the elderly and immunocompromised populations, visitation at nursing homes and long-term care facilities will remain suspended except for end-of-life situations until explicitly lifted by a future executive order.

While the data continues to improve on a statewide level, local governments are encouraged to make decisions that best fit their communities.

“Our measured approach to reopening has been a key reason why our data remains trending in a positive direction,” said Secretary of Health Jerome Loughridge. “It is vital that communities across the state only move to Phase 3 when their local data supports that decision. The OSDH and the Governor’s Solution Task Force are available to consult any local officials on the best practices for their specific areas.”

Free COVID-19 testing remains available to all Oklahomans at more than 80 locations across the state. Detailed information is available at

“As we enter Phase 3 of reopening, the Oklahoma State Department of Health will be focused on maintaining and expanding trusted partnerships with the public to help us minimize the presence of COVID-19,” said interim Commissioner of Health Lance Frye. “We remind Oklahomans they do not need to be experiencing symptoms to get tested for COVID-19 at our more than 80 county facilities. We also encourage Oklahomans to take calls from, and stay in communication with, our growing contact tracing team, which will be a powerful tool in ensuring we can protect public health and the state’s economy as we recover.”

Industry-specific guidelines for safely reopening are available on the Oklahoma Department of Commerce website.